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Coddled Children Grow up Self-Disruptive

September 19, 2018 | By | 1 Reply More
Coddled Children Grow up Self-Disruptive

In The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, Attorney Greg Lukianoff (founder of FIRE) and moral psyhchologist Jonathan Haidt address America’s mushrooming inability to engage in productive civil discourse. Increasing numbers of people are claiming that they cannot cope with ideas that challenge their own world view. They sometimes claim that ideas that challenge their own ideas are “not safe.” In dozens of well-publicized cases, rather than work to counteract “bad” ideas with better ideas, they work to muzzle speaker by disrupting presentations or even running the purportedly offensive speakers off campus.

There is a related and growing problem. We cannot talk with each other at all regarding many many important issues. We shout each other down and use the heckler’s veto. These maladies are especially prominent on some American college campuses, but these problems are also rapidly spreading to the country at large, including corporate America.

Consider this 2016 example featuring the students of Yale having a “discussion” with Professor Nicholas Christakis:

You would never guess it from this video alone, but this mass-meltdown was triggered after child development specialist Erika Christakis (wife of Nicholas), sent this email to students.?This incident at Yale is one of many illustrations offered by Haidt and Lukianoff as evidence of a disturbing trend. ?Here’s another egregious example involving?Dean Mary Spellman at Claremont McKenna College who was run out of her college after committing the sin of writing this email to a student. ?More detail here.?

The authors offer this as the genesis of the overall problem:

In years past, administrators were motivated to create campus speech codes in order to curtail what they deemed to be racist or sexist speech. Increasingly, however, the rationale for speech codes and speaker disinvitations was becoming medicalized: Students claimed that certain kinds of speech—and even the content of some books and courses—interfered with their ability to function. They wanted protection from material that they believed could jeopardize their mental health by “triggering” them, or making them “feel unsafe.”

The solution offered by Lukianoff and Haidt is to take a moment to stop to recognize what they call the “Three Bad Ideas.”

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About Google Scientist James Damore

July 15, 2018 | By | Reply More
About Google Scientist James Damore

I know I’m late to the game on this Google incident, but this is such a good illustration about how we, as a society, are unable to talk and think about serious issues except through our ideological filters. Further, some questions that can be explored through science apparently should no longer be even raised.

First, a comment from a Gizmodo article by Melanie Ehrenkranz, who characterizes former Google Engineer James Damore as follows: “The man thinks women are inferior to men as engineers.” That is typical of a lot of how Damore has been treated on the Internet.

Now consider the basic facts about what Damore wrote at Google:

Calling the culture at Google an “ideological echo chamber”, the memo says that while discrimination exists, it is extreme to ascribe all disparities to oppression, and it is authoritarian to try to correct disparities through reverse discrimination. Instead, it argues that male/female disparities can be partly explained by biological differences. According to research he cited, those differences include women generally having a stronger interest in people rather than things, and tending to be more social, artistic, and prone to neuroticism (a higher-order personality trait). Damore’s memorandum also suggests ways to adapt the tech workplace to those differences to increase women’s representation and comfort, without resorting to discrimination.

Damore has given detailed interviews about what happened at Google and why he wrote his comments. That includes this interview with Joe Rogan:

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How important is a college education?

January 18, 2018 | By | 1 Reply More

This article by Peter Coy in Bloomberg makes a strong case against the “need” for college education for most people.

[M]ost of us don’t need to understand the Krebs cycle or the Peloponnesian War. Honestly, how much do you remember, let alone use, from Spanish or chem or calculus? For many students, college is mostly about jumping through hoops on command to show potential employers you’re ready, willing, and able to jump through hoops on command.

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On Raising Fragile Children

October 27, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More

Lenore Skenazy (an early critic of helicopter parenting) and Jonathan Haidt have written a detailed article describing the problem that modern paranoid parenting is producing fragile children. “The Fragile Generation”?published by Reason.com, is an excellent read. Because I grew up in the 60’s where free play was ubiquitous, this passage on free play especially resonated with me . . .

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The Effect of Concepts Creeping to the Left

October 24, 2017 | By | 3 Replies More

In this paper titled, “Why Concepts Creep to the Left,” Jonathan Haidt supplements Nick Haslam’s paper titled “Concept Creep,” in which concepts such as bullying, trauma and addiction morph over time. And there are newish terms that have become prominent and expansive in recent years, “trigger warnings” and “microaggressions.” But these concepts don’t merely change. They change to the whims of the political left. And they especially change for current students and young adults rather than those over 40. In his article, Haidt asks why there is a direction to that change. Haidt writes:

These terms are part of a new conceptual package that includes all of the older concepts long referred to as “political correctness” but with greatly expanded notions of harm, trauma, mental illness, vulnerability, and harassment. These concepts seem to have expanded in just the way that Haslam (2016) describes — horizontally, to take in new kinds of cases (such as adding the reading of novels to the list of traumatizing activities) and vertically, to take in ever less extreme versions of older cases (as is made explicit by the prefix “micro” in the word “microaggression”). In this conceptually augmented political correctness, the central idea seems to be that many college students are so fragile that institutions and right-thinking people must all work together to protect vulnerable individuals from exposure to words and ideas that could damage them in a lasting way. If this protection requires banning certain speakers from campus, or punishing student newspapers that publish opinions that upset the dominant campus sensibility, then so be it.

What are the reasons for this expansion of these concepts to the left. Haidt explores several possibilities . ..

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Mob behavior and threats to free speech described and discussed by Nicholas Christakis

October 11, 2017 | By | Reply 온라인 슬롯머신More
온라인 슬롯머신

I recommend this excellent discussion by Nicholas Christakis on the topics of mob behavior, moral panics, and current threats to free speech. Illiberal behavior is destroying our ability to talk with each other, notably on the places where we would most expect vigorous exchanges of ideas: college campuses. Christakis is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the area of biosocial science, investigating the biological predicates and consequences of social phenomena. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University. Sam Harris presents this discussion on his Waking Up podcast.

At the tail end of the podcast, Christakis and Harris mention the work of Greg Lukianoff, President of FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.

FIRE has achieved long successful string of legal victories through its Speech Litigation Project.?

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Homeopathic Emergency Room

August 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

Mitchell and Webb take a look at Homeopathic in the ER:

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Walking while texting bloopers video has a serious ending

July 17, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

Blooper video turned PSA:

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Appellate Law in the Trenches

May 4, 2017 | By | Reply More

I was happy with the turnout and quality of speakers for today’s seminar sponsored by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis: “Appellate Lawyering in the Trenches.” I had the honor of being the organizer, but most of the work was done by the following presenters: Eric Martin, Beth Carver and Barbara Smith (Bryan Cave), Jeff McPherson (Armstrong Teasdale), Hon. Colleen Dolan and Joy Hannell (Missouri Court of Appeals), John Campbell (Campbell Law),and Shannan Hall (BAMSL). We have already received lots of good feedback from those attending and I look forward to doing something like this again within the next year or two.

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